A Warlock’s Opinion of Love

Photo: J Hardy Carroll

 

This is an entry to Friday Fictioneers – where we write 100 word stories based on the picture prompt provided.

Most warlocks will tell you that magic cannot interfere with love. However, Arran’s 162 year experience has taught him that love can be far more fragile than many ascribe it to be.

20 minutes ago, he watched with disappointment as his young protégé disappeared into a $200-a-night hotel with his ill chosen minx. From that moment, this private tryst was doomed.

A simple incantation and smoke is billowing from just one window of the hotel. The lovers are probably oblivious to what’s happening outside, but it won’t be long before they have sudden, unexpected company.

Love rarely survives such indignities.

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Unwanted Gifts

Roberta hurried out of the front door in her husband’s slippers and shawl. Neither were adequate protection for the occurring downpour, but she marched down the street anyway. One of Roberta’s elderly neighbours was hobbling along the pavement some distance away.  Roberta always forgets her name; the street she lives on is friendly but not that friendly. The old lady started to cross the road, but her foot skidded on a stray piece of gravel as she stepped off the pavement. Roberta, however, was ready to save the day, and roughly grasped Bridget (The name dislodged itself from somewhere in Roberta’s memory) by her upper arm and pulled her up before she could fall onto the road.

Some five seconds later, a silver Toyota dashed around the corner, narrowly missing the kerb.

“Oh!” exclaimed Bridget. She stood for a second in silence, clearly contemplating what could have happened if Roberta had not been there. “How lucky you were here, R-“

“Bridget, we should get you out of the rain!” interrupted Roberta, through gritted teeth. Her slippers are already sodden.

After escorting Bridget to her front door, Roberta returned home and dried off. She made a milky cup of tea and began to confide in Fudge, her placid tabby cat.

“Oh, so lucky you were here, Roberta!” she imitated, with a dollop of sarcasm. “Yeah, lucky for you, you old bint. Not exactly how I wanted to spend my Saturday, and if Dave’s slippers don’t come out of the tumble dryer alright, I’m done for.”

Roberta’s in depth chats with Fudge only started when she started having the visions. The cat wouldn’t think she was crazy, and most importantly, the cat couldn’t tell anyone else that Roberta had gone off her rocker and thought she could see the future. Fudge yawned and stretched across the settee on the opposite side of the living room to the Roberta.

“Okay, Fudge, I know. Dave deserves to have his slippers ruined, the cheating bastard. Though, he might not have cheated on me yet, and we know that we can change what’s in the visions or Bridget would have met her maker this afternoon. So maybe he won’t cheat on me. The vision of him and his ex-wife could be completely out of context?”

In response to this, Fudge stared glassily out of the window.

“Or maybe I’m in complete denial,” Roberta sighed.

 

Reflection

For years, I’d noticed unnatural things about my own reflection. Sometimes I saw a slight delay in movement, or an odd twitch that I didn’t feel. The eyes would blink maybe a second before I did, and I’d catch some strange expression in the corner of my vision as I turned away from the mirror.

When my mirror image finally spoke, I felt relieved that I hadn’t been imagining it all this time. There was another person there, or some other version of me.  We became good friends, in the end, understanding each other so perfectly. I began to feel sorry for people who didn’t have a reflection who could talk back.

Months went by, and then he asked me a question I couldn’t answer.

“What do you do,” he asked, “when you’re not being my mirror image?”

The question rolled in my head, and I realised I couldn’t remember where I was before I came to this particular bathroom mirror, I didn’t know what laid beyond the door behind me. When my mirror image walked back into his life, I was surrounded by black fog.

I was nothing but his reflection.

Bad Decisions

“If it wasn’t for the fact it felt so good, I’d never make bad decisions, ever,” Caroline slurred. She was almost lying down on the couch opposite me, as listless on her fourth glass of sauvignon as she’d been energetic on the second.

“I never seem to have the opportunity to make half the bad decisions you do, at least be grateful for that,” I replied.

This seemed to pull Caroline half upright.

“But you are happy, right?” she asked.

Yes, I was happy. I’d lived in that sleepy town for six years, and made some friends that weren’t as dysfunctional as Caroline, and was one year into a relationship which seemed gloriously uncomplicated to any that I’d been in before. Caroline, meanwhile, floated along wherever the winds took her, and if there was any kind of storm, she sheltered here with me for a few days.

Last time it had been regrets about changing her job and working with a new company. This time, it was a broken heart, which had been the likely outcome from the moment she had fallen in love with her boss.

“I would let you know if I wasn’t happy, it’s definitely my turn to sit on your couch and drink your wine until I cheer up.”

Caroline walked over and sat next to me.  She took my glass of beer and put it on the table. Before I could ask why, she kissed me hard on the lips.

“Sure you’re not suffering from the lack of opportunity to make bad decisions?”

Friday Fictioneers – Closure

PHOTO PROMPT © Peter Abbey

Copyright – Peter Abbey

Another Friday Fictioneers Submission. Please follow the link to take part of read other 100 word stories. The big question for me today, as someone who never studied English after 16, was “That or Which?” Feel free to educate me. 

There was a neglected snicket behind George Street which squeamish locals avoided.

Louis stood at one end, feeling strangely cheered as he realised how grotty this path had become in a decade. He regarded the glass settled in the cracks of degrading asphalt, the abandoned chip cartons, and the pair of stray knickers which lay pathetically across the ground.

How could this place ever have been romantic?

He fixed his gaze on the mouldering fence. He counted the slats, until he reached the 27th on his right.

Louis hearts Hannah

A squirt of spray paint, and the names were gone.

Friday Fictioneers – Keeping it For a Reason

PHOTO PROMPT © Claire Fuller

Copyright – Claire Fuller

Welcome to another wonderful Friday Fictioneers. This picture really called out fantasy to me, but I’ve written a few of those lately and wanted to do something different. Not sure it really worked, but I’m on limited time today. If you want to take part and read other stories, please follow the link.

James looked up from his phone, and his daughter was nowhere to be seen.

“Elise?” His voice filtered through the trees either side of the cycleway. A faltering heartbeat later, she tumbled out from between the foliage, recklessly spinning her schoolbag around her wrist.

“Dad, can you keep this safe for me?” She pressed a thumb sized stone into his palm.

“What do you want this for?” he asked, annoyed.

She shrugged before turning and running ahead to the cycleway exit.

“I’m not keeping it for no reason!”

He looked at the stone, sighed, and slipped it in his pocket.

Sunday Photo Fiction – On Pause

177-10-october-16th-2016

Copyright – Al Forbes

The Sunday Photo Fiction challenge is facilitated by Al Forbes and involves creating a 100-200 word story around the featured picture. Please follow the link the find the rules. 

“She won’t let the seasons change.” Little Bird pecked viciously at the orange leaves, letting them cascade onto the damp ground. “None of us ever want winter to come, but permanent autumn won’t work. And it won’t be long before humans notice the nights aren’t getting shorter.”

“Are you listening, Taela?” asked Big Bird.

“Yes, I promise I am,” I snapped my eyes away from the fiery coloured trees. “I’ll speak to her.”

When I made my approach, she was sat between the boughs of her favourite Great Oak. Her long, silvery hair spilled down the tree trunk, snarled with twigs and dirt.

“It’s almost mid-December,” I said gently. “I know that it’s hard to move on…”

When she turned to look at me, I saw her eyes were red-raw, and full to the brim with pain which hadn’t lessoned in the past two months. She looked like she was about to say something, but then gave up.

“No matter how long it stays autumn, he won’t come back,” I continued, firmly.

A week later, the tree branches were bare.

Friday Fictioneers – Light for the Lost

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Image belongs to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Just about managed to write a story for the CORRECT picture prompt for this week. This 100 word story is for the Friday Fictioneers challenge. Please follow link to view other stories and see rules for entering. 

The back of the sofa yielded 21p, enough to buy some reduced bread from Asda. The whole time, I was hoping to God that nobody from school would spot me and ask if I was okay, that nobody would notice I was paying in coppers.

At home, my heart jumped when I saw lights in the kitchen, and mum at the table. After nine days in bed, she was finally up. Just as I dared hope she was ready to be mum again, I saw her vacant expression, staring at the flame of a candle.   

“She loved candles,” mum murmured.

 

Friday Fictioneers – The Grinning Cat

Okay, slight mistake, accidentally used last week’s prompt for Friday Fictioneers. Bear with me here, it’s been a while.

As Alice checked her watch, the seconds hand was ticking past 9. Her date was late. The only company available was a yellow-eyed cat, watching from the path.

“The thing they must understand,” she told the cat, “is that I can’t bear lateness.”

She stared at the lake. The night sky reflection was so perfectly clear, Alice felt she could tumble in and end up amongst the stars. She leaned further over the wall. Suddenly, the cat was between her ankles, her balance was gone, and in she went.

Curiously, there was no splash.

“Enjoy Wonderland,” the cat chuckled.

Sunday Photo Fiction – Photography

176-10-october-9th-2016

Sunday Photo Fiction: 200 words based on the picture prompt, and click the link if you’d like to take part or want to read other submissions. It’s a been a while since I last submitted something. I’m very glad this challenge is reliably here to give me direction when I do feel like doing some writing!

Adam stood in the middle of his late grandad’s living room. Looking to the left, he saw bare walls and bin bags. He’d spent the past hour systematically stripping the place down, unsentimentally doing the job his mother didn’t feel capable of doing. Adam himself hadn’t known his grandad that well, but needles of guilt were bothering him. His cavalier approach to clearing the house was beginning to feel irreverent.

Looking right, the room was still preserved as grandad had left it, identical to Adam’s memories of the rare childhood visits, even down to the stacks of photography magazines on the coffee table. The magazines must have been sat untouched for years, which inspired some curiosity in Adam as he picked one up. They were still in their plastic jackets. Had grandad been intending to read them for the past decade?

Hours later, Adam pulled a digital camera out of the wardrobe, still attached to a USB cable. In the evening, he plugged the thing into his computer to see how grandad’s photography skills had fared despite neglecting the magazines.

A single photo loaded, partially obscured by Grandad’s thumb, of an A4 page filled with handwriting. It began:

“Dear Adam…”